School security: 'It's something that we're working on every day'

School security: 'It's something that we're working on every day' »Play Video
Beaverton High School. (KATU photo)

BEAVERTON, Ore. – While many had a personal reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Jessica Hull’s reaction was professional.

“I automatically go into ‘how are we prepared for this?’” She said.

The Beaverton High School Resource Officer says she is more than just an authority figure in the halls.

“There are a lot of moments in the last four years that I’ve been in school, that I’ve felt more like a counselor than a police officer,” said Hull.

Beaverton High School Principal Anne Erwin says the safety of her students is the one thing she worries about most every day.

Erwin said she strengthened security at her school three days before the school shooting.

“Students come to this school every day, and their parents expect me to keep them safe and my administration to keep them safe,” said Erwin.

The security changes were not major, Erwin said. She adjusted which doors the school locks from the outside during school hours.

Erwin said they have a well-trained staff and plans in place at the school, but she wants parents to know that security measures are continuously evaluated.

“It’s an ongoing effort,” she said. “It’s not a response to one incident, or one scenario or one event. It’s something that we’re working on every day.”

Portland Public Schools has pre-determined sites where students and staff should meet in an evacuation. Each classroom is equipped with an emergency kit, which includes first aid supplies.

Parents have the option of signing up for an alert system to receive emergency updates.

Erwin believes the most vital form of security is adult interaction with students, and says a strong support staff can help curb underlying issues that may motivate a person to do something terrible.

“It’s not just important, it’s vital. It’s essential,” said Erwin. “And I would extend it a little bit beyond that and say it’s essential for every single student on campus to have a connection with at least one adult.”

“You would be amazed at how much information comes out and is shared when someone feels safe to share it,” said Hull.